The CR7 juggernaut powered into familiar territory as Nike launched Chapter Three of Cristiano Ronaldo's Mercurial series. Lisbon provided the picturesque platform as Nike paid tribute to Ronaldo's early career spent in the Portuguese capital. From touch down to take off we embarked on a CR7 tour around the city before the man back in town with the footballing crown launched his new Superfly boot.
The Nike Mercurial CR7 Chapter 3 is finished in a design that recognises Cristiano’s spell at Sporting Lisbon, a time which ultimately resulted in a game against Manchester United on August 6th, 2003 — a match that convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to bring the explosive teenager to Old Trafford. Diving deeper into the story we strolled through the sweeping streets of scenic Lisbon to see why, how, where this fresh faced kid began his story that turned him into a global sporting superstar.
First stop. Residencial Dom Jose – The accommodation owned by Sporting Lisbon and a place that Cristiano Ronaldo called home as teenager while he was breaking into the first team at the club. Single beds and training threads. Scattered in decoration typical of this beautiful city, it was more early nights than Champions League nights at this point in his career. Reckon his TV in his current house is a tad bigger?
Escola Telheiras, was our second port of call. The school where CR7 continued his education in Lisbon. A school where kids wore Helder Postiga shirts in Ronaldo's time here. Fields and concrete courts where a young Ronaldo tore seven shades of stepovers out of every kid in every year group, no doubt.
With the sound of the school bell still in our ears we took a hike up to Parque Eduardo VII with Miguel Paixao (a friend and former team mate of Cristiano at Sporting Lisbon). It was here, on this panoramic perspective, where Paixao and Ronaldo would get to work on intense sprint training, an asset of Ronaldo's game that has enabled him to rise to the very top of world football. Power, pace and pearlers. A breathtaking view the incentive for the young sprinters, Ballon d'Or and titles, titles, titles the ultimate reward for one of them.
With time to kill before Cristiano presented his new Superfly we ducked into Magriço Pastelaria. A modest, if not slightly run-down cafe close to CR7's Lisbon digs that he used to visit to have breakfast or a bite to eat after training. Table seven a popular one in this establishment. Ronaldo memorabilia decorates the walls as the locals each roll off their memories of the main man. From what he'd eat, to which ice-cream he'd order.
Solero in hand, we took to the road with the Portugal National Football Federation Training Ground the destination. Whizzing past Sporting Lisbon's Estádio José Alvalade stadium we arrived at the Cidade Do Futebol, the stage for Nike's latest CR7 series. Special guests from ex-teammates, coaches and friends filled the room as Rio Ferdinand and Ricardo Quaresma welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo onto the stage. With his new wheels sat proudly in front of him Ronaldo spoke about his time in Lisbon and how it influenced his platinum career. Taking answers from the floor before wrapping things up, big Ron politely declind our invitiation for a few beers in Lisbon after the show. We'll have one for him.
Stay tuned for a full video recap from the CR7 Chapter 3 Launch in Lisbon.